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Data Nation 2013

The outlook

What does the future hold for our data nation?

In their Global Threat Assessment, carried out in September 2012, Ipsos Public Affairs discovered that 73 per cent of people in the G20 felt that there was a threat their personal data could be compromised while online. For the last three years, this figure has remained substantially higher than for any other man-made or natural hazard or disaster. It is a sign of the importance that people of every nation place on maintaining the integrity of their private lives in a world of big data.

In the UK, businesses have barely closed the confidence gap during the last year: the majority of the British public still lacks confidence in the way businesses collect, handle, use and share data. As a consequence, European legislators are poised to step in with sweeping new data protection powers.

So what does the future hold?

One of the big opportunities of using data is in predicting behaviour, not just needs. Businesses are getting better at recognising which customers need which products and services. With more granular data, they can learn whether those customers are likely to respond positively or negatively to targeted marketing offers or other types of contact. Indeed, customer engagement strategies could be designed specifically to boost confidence by presenting information on privacy and data protection practices so people in low confidence segments are more likely to want their data to be used.

Businesses can thus compete for custom not only on the quality and relevance of their services and products, but also on how they engage with customers about their data. Far from being a quaint twentieth-century notion, the Data Nation survey shows that the latent demand for privacy has never been greater. In turn, regulators can benefit from a more transparent marketplace where privacy becomes an important market force and a new currency for growth.

Two strategies for gaining competitive advantage through privacy

  1. Awareness of data collection and use and consumer rights are the greatest contributors to consumer confidence found in this research. To get maximum benefit from using data, ensure that every customer interaction is based on the principles of transparency, trust and informed dialogue.
  2. Segment customers not only on their predicted needs, but also on their predicted response to targeted marketing, data sharing or other tailored services. Identify low confidence groups, particularly in the over-35s, or low awareness groups among the digital natives and generation 'Y' and engage with them to increase awareness and trust.


Read the appendix  >


  • Awareness falls
    The current state of our data nation.
  • Mind the generation gap
    Dissonance between data creation and data use.
  • More is better
    Acceptance increases with the right context.
  • Regulation, responsibility
    and reform
    Lessons from the cookie law.
  • The outlook
    Transparency and growth in the future of data nation.
  • Appendix
    Full survey questions and results.

Further information

Read the full report   Read the full report
View the executive summary and download the full report.

Key contacts

  • Harvey Lewis
    Analytics Research Director
    Deloitte Insight
    +44 (0)20 7303 6805
  • Peter Gooch
    Director and Privacy
    Practice Leader
    Audit Advisory Services
    +44 (0)20 7303 0972

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